Campion Lally, OFM
1926 – 2007
Fr. Campion Lally, OFM, was born on Jan. 27, 1926, in South Orange, N.J., Upon his graduation from high school in 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served for two years at various locations in the United States. He attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., from 1945 to 1947.
In 1947, he was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., professing first vows there the following year. Fr. Campion professed final vows in 1951 at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. In 1953, he was ordained a priest at the Franciscan Monastery Church, Mount Saint Sepulchre in Washington.
Fr. Campion’s first assignments were to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City and St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. In 1955, he volunteered for Holy Name Province’s mission in Japan. He studied at the Franciscan Language School in Tokyo, later becoming assistant pastor of the parish of Kiryu, Gumma Prefecture.
In 1961, he returned to the United States to obtain a licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of America. Two years later, Fr. Campion returned to Japan to teach moral theology at St. Anthony Seminary, Tokyo, while taking courses at Sophia University and assisting at churches in Fujioka and Omama. From 1970 to 1988, he served as vicar and superior at the Franciscan Chapel Center in Tokyo.
In 1988, Fr. Campion was an assistant in Kiryu and resumed teaching at St. Anthony. In September 2005, due to a worsening diabetic condition, he returned to the United States and was assigned to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. He moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., in early 2006.
Like his Seraphic father Francis, Fr. Camp took a childlike delight in all creation. He was a music buff who loved to play the saxophone and was often reading four or five books on a variety of topics at the same time. One of his great joys in life was exploring Japan’s temples and shrines.
However, Fr. Campion was most interested in people. He possessed a captivating ingenuousness that endeared him to all he met.
He died Nov. 11, 2007, at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Campion was 81 years old, a professed friar for 59 years, a priest for 54 years and a missionary in Japan for half a century. Following cremation, Fr. Campion’s remains were sent to Japan for burial.